DECEMBER 2023: A 1951 FORD MERCURY/MONARCH RESTO MOD CUSTOM RULES THIS CAR GUY’S WORLD

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The first-generation Monarch was introduced by Ford of Canada as an upscale model with deep roots in the Mercury branch of the Blue Oval car company.

The similarities were so deep the vehicle became known as the Mercury/Monarch to emphasize its image as a luxury model sold at Canadian Ford   dealerships during the post-war era.

The model distinction was significant because Ford of Canada did not offer both Mercury and Ford dealerships in smaller communities, so Ford needed to offer a Mercury clone with different badging at its Ford stores.

Jim Sutherland

A heavily modified 1951 Mercury/Monarch Sport Sedan resto mod attracted plenty of attention at a summer show because it was a unique car model made even cooler by its creative owner, Eugene Dettina.

Eugene is a retired telephone company technician who assembled a significant skill set during his long career in the telecommunication field. For example, Eugene’s job required plenty of fabrication and wiring abilities, very useful skills that can be directly applied to a car project.

A ’51 Monarch is a solid foundation for a custom project, given its direct link to the 1951 Mercury, a car model that became a legend in the Lead Sled custom movement during the 1950s.

Eugene embraced the early hot rod philosophy when he built his custom Monarch because he used plenty of donor cars during the process, including a 1978 Corvette 350 small block bolted to a Turbo 350 automatic transmission. The rear end is also pure Chevy in the form of a 10-bolt differential.

The 6-way power front seats were donated by a 2005 Cadillac and the back seats came from the same Caddy. The 21st century seats were not a perfect fit in a mid-20th century car but, as mentioned earlier, Eugene is a solid fabricator and was able to make the seats fit like a glove.

Eugene added tilt steering from a mid-1980s Cadillac and was able to use a 2003 Jeep power steering unit that bolted up to the Monarch’s original pitman arm and provides a nimble component for the car’s handling. Additionally, he upgraded to a dual electric fan system, one operated by a sensor and the other by a switch.

An unseen creature comfort in the ’51 Monarch is new-age insulation within the cabin. Eugene wanted to use a darker color for the car’s exterior and, to avoid heat issues inside the car, he insulated the interior. He is very pleased with the results, from both a sound and temperature perspective.

Eugene upgraded to a 12-volt electrical system in his Monarch, but he retained the car’s original instrumentation by using a convertor system that dropped back to 6 volts for the factory gauges. He also added extra gauges to accurately monitor the engine functions.

The halo lights are a nice custom touch on the Monarch and enhance its cool style.

Eugene told MyStarCollectorCar “I’ve got a lot of boxes in my head”, adding “My girlfriend says I fix stuff and I know things”, two good reasons why his ’51 Monarch is an amazingly creative resto mod.

Eugene is a big believer in the “Built-not bought” movement in the car hobby and considers his involvement to be “wrench therapy”, in his words.

The net result is one of the coolest custom resto mod builds we have seen at a car show

Jim Sutherland

BY: Jim Sutherland

Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section. 

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